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Coveting Contentment (and a pareve corn muffin recipe)

I’ve posted the pareve (meaning: no dairy) cornbread muffin recipe below because I couldn’t find one online that didn’t contain things that I deemed “weird crap” such as flax seed.  So I made up a recipe and got it right on the second try.  So just in case someone else is searching for a dairy-free cornbread muffin recipe or a pareve cornbread muffin recipe, scroll down and see below.

As I waited for them to rise, I looked through the numerous Christmas catalogs that arrived in the mail for Williams Sonoma or King Arthur.  I started marking pages — not stuff that I needed or even had any room to take into my house, but stuff that just looked interesting.  That I coveted.  A popsicle maker despite the fact that I have popsicle molds I rarely use.  A couche for making baguettes despite the fact that I have managed without one until now, still popping out crispy baguettes by making my own cloth couche.

I just wanted shit.  Even if they were unitaskers that would cause my beloved Alton Brown into become a twitching mass on the floor.  I have cooking equipment I barely use, and still, I wanted more just for the sake of having more.

Perhaps that is just part of being a certain type of human?  How do some people become minimalists, able to let go of all possessions and other people don’t even really pay attention to what they have, instead focused on seeking more?

I think I used to feel the same way about people.  I had friends, but I’d always feel like I didn’t have “enough” friends.  And I would collect more people to hold close emotionally.  We’d have these insane Shabbat dinners back in college and early marriage where we’d have 30+ guests in a tiny apartment.  And yes, those parties were a lot of fun, just as owning a popsicle maker could be a lot of fun.  But still, how much could you connect with 30+ people in a three-hour window?

By the time the cornbread muffins were ready to come out of the oven, I realized that I needed to close the catalogs.  In fact, I needed to toss them and realize that I had enough right now.  Which is not to say that I can’t own new things in the future, but just as I need to listen to my body when it is full and doesn’t need more food, I need to listen to my house when it doesn’t need more things.

And I need to focus on what is in front of me, the people who are in front of me, and just be thankful.

Dairy-Free or Pareve Cornbread Muffin Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups soy milk
2 sticks unsalted margarine
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt) in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Start melting the margarine in the microwave in a separate bowl.  Break the two eggs and add them to the mixer while the mixer is off.  Pour in the soy milk.  Turn the mixer on and after a few seconds of mixing, add the melted margarine.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO THIS IN THIS ORDER.  If not, the margarine will curdle as it comes in contact with the soy milk.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. Bake for 30 minutes.  The tops will be golden brown and crisp, and a toothpick will come out of the muffin clean.  Allow them to rest and cool before eating.


1 Autism Mom Rising { 11.25.10 at 8:02 am }

Happy ICWL, but I’d be over here anyhow. I love this post. My husband and I are both minimalists by nature. All of our money extra goes to Autism treatments and I think that is easier for us than some others because of the whole minimalist by nature thing.

Now, woman of many talents, can you come up with a wheat free/corn free corn bread recipie for me?? We are not minimalist in the food sensitivity department!

2 gingerandlime { 11.25.10 at 9:00 am }

I think you’re being a little hard on yourself–after all, those catalogues are designed to provoke that coveting reaction even in people who wouldn’t necessarily feel it in the first place.

But I do see where you’re coming from, and the idea that the same grasping or coveting mindset could be applied to people (or, oh, I don’t know, expectations about fertility, just as a for-instance) is an important one.

3 Kristen { 11.25.10 at 12:17 pm }

Being content w/what I have, in terms of both possessions and people, is something I have made an effort to do the last couple years. Its so easy to get sucked into focusing on things I want, people I want to be closer to and goals I want to accomplish that I miss enjoying all the wonderful things I have right now.

I can’t think of a better message on Thanksgiving than to enjoy all the people and things in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving – wishing a great day w/family, delicious food and stretchy pants 🙂

4 HereWeGoAJen { 11.25.10 at 1:19 pm }

Did you see the glass toaster in the Williams-Sonoma catalog? I want that. I also want the popsicle maker, that thing looks awesome. But I have realized that I want almost everything in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.

5 Chickenpig { 11.25.10 at 1:51 pm }

I want the LIFE that is advertised in the WS catalog…and the Pottery Barn catalog…etc etc. *sigh*. And I don’t even like to cook, but I imagine that the people who live in these beautiful houses and own these beautiful things do know how to cook and can do it in style. One can dream, right? 🙂

6 Vee { 11.25.10 at 2:01 pm }

I have way too much stuff in a small house. My mother collected so many things over the years and then gave them to me when I got married, things I have never used or never really needed so they still sit in boxes taking up precious space. One day I am going to do a HUGE clear out.

7 wifey { 11.25.10 at 3:31 pm }

I too wish I could be a minimalist. Hubby and I are trying to be conservative with our money so we can afford some sort of IF resolution, but it can be difficult. If I didn’t covet things, it sure would make this time much more pleasant.

8 Erika { 11.25.10 at 3:49 pm }

It has been so hard to get to a point where Im ok with being right where I am. Working on one small thing at a time, I have come to really appreciate what I have, the life I’m able to live, and the love I have to share with those around me.

Of course, being human, there’s always something new to covet= something new to work on fixing/accepting. And also, being human, I haven’t yet found a way to not relapse in to “I want, I want, I want”

happy thanksgiving, and ICLW!

9 L. { 11.25.10 at 3:59 pm }

Yep, you were doing an awesome job CREATING a recipe to share for realz and on the interwebs without any of those unitaskers, so chucking the catalogue was a good idea!

10 Kristin { 11.25.10 at 6:01 pm }

What a beautiful post Mel.

And, you did an awesome job on that recipe.

11 a { 11.25.10 at 8:48 pm }

I’m pretty good at getting rid of old things as I bring new ones in, but I can really stack up the kitchen ware! I’m good at determining that I don’t really need the stuff that I want. I do succumb to buying things I don’t really absolutely need on occasion, when I need a lift. But I still really want a KitchenAid Stand Mixer…even though I don’t need one.

12 aisha { 11.25.10 at 10:16 pm }

What you said about friendships and trying to gain more- its got me thinking- thanks for the food for thought.

13 Rebecca { 11.26.10 at 6:14 pm }

Realizing we have enough is hard. Especially when it comes to family and family building. I have a husband and stepson, why shouldn’t I be happy with that? But I want more. I want my *own*. One that lives here that my husband and I can parent together.
I have come to realize too, that in regards to friends, it’s the quality – not the quantity – that counts. I have never had many friends, but the older I get, the more I realize that the ones I have that have been there through it all…those are the ones I really need. 🙂

(And your muffin recipe sounds lucious! But…doesn’t margarine have milk in it? Just curious…)

14 coffeegrl { 11.27.10 at 4:29 pm }

I don’t even open the catalogs if I can help it. Otherwise, I find myself wanting the most bizarre sh*t. And truly I don’t have anyplace to store it and I don’ want to keep tripping over stuff I don’t use….But it sometimes feels like a battle to weigh what I need vs. want (esp. at this time of year when the marketing is in full force).

15 Bea { 11.27.10 at 5:26 pm }

I have been de-cluttering for two years and I always feel like I am struggling against an incoming tide. I think the craving for more stuff is hard-wired. In the past, when we lived in caves and opportunities to accumulate didn’t come along much and our things worked hard and then wore out, the instinct to accumulate stuff was a benefit to our survival. Now, post-scarcity and with marketing people honing their science year after year, this instinct gets us in trouble.

The analogy with food is perfect. Our food cravings, especially for once-scarce sugar and carbs, are so similar in many ways.

The not-having of stuff is so monastic. A turning away from bodily cravings. A demonstration of extreme discipline and devotion.

I don’t know why some people struggle less and some more.


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